Read This: David O’Connell’s wishlist for comic conventions

Published On August 22, 2014 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Conventions and events

Your reading for today… David O’Connell’s excellent Exhibitor’s wishlist for comic conventions. He’s stepping out from behind the convention table for the next few cons and is having a particularly useful think about what sort of thing is for the best when doing the difficult thing that is setting up a comic convention.

Now, most of us will be more interested with the stuff going on from the punter’s side of the table, but the comfort and happiness of the exhibitors is hugely important. The more notice folks take of things like this, the better things will be for everyone. The only thing I can add to this is think about the name. Calling a comic con “Nerd”-something or including the word “Geek” anywhere in the title or organiser name is a bad idea.

Anyway, here’s O’Connell’s intro, go here to read the rest.

The thought of leaving exhibiting behind (at least temporarily) has caused me to reflect on my personal experiences since my first convention in 2008 (the much missed Web & Minicomix Thing). There weren’t many events then – I think Bristol, Caption and the Thing were the only regulars. In the years since, the list of comics events and conventions has expanded dramatically. It’s brilliant that there’s so much enthusiasm for comics and so much choice.

However, the quality has been very variable. Comics people are used to being treated as the lowest of the low and will put up with a lot, especially if it means they meet friends and like-minded others and have the opportunity for a good time. But exhibiting costs money, so we have had to become choosy about which events we attend. Word gets around fast and ‘bad’ conventions are quickly written off whilst the ‘good’ expand (which creates a whole range of other issues).

I don’t under-estimate how hard it is to organise a comic convention and how much work goes into it. It must be an enormous, tedious job filled with horrible people management-type stuff. There are so many places where it can go wrong. I helped out at Caption for a couple of years, a tiny, unique event held in a community hall. But getting the committee together in the same place at the same time just to talk about organising it was enough of a logistical problem, never mind the actual convention weekend itself. So I wouldn’t want anyone to consider the following to be a list of DEMANDS or expectations or a rant against any event in particular. This is a wishlist for ‘Ideal Con’, from an exhibitor’s perspective.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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